Monday, April 14, 2014

For Me, Holy Week Is Personal

Many years ago, I had a son – my only child. I loved and cared for him with all my heart as any parent would. I sat with him when he was sick, played with him when he was bored, and cheered him on when he was up at bat. I fed him, bathed him, read stories to him, helped him pick up his toys and disciplined him when needed.

One evening, shortly after his twelfth birthday, my son was riding his bike home for dinner. Being a bit of a daredevil, like his father, he pedaled hard down the hill of his friend’s back yard and picking up speed, jumped, pulling the bike up into the air, to soar over the three-foot tall weeds by the side of the road. He cleared the weeds and flew right into the path of an oncoming SUV. After hitting the front of the car, bouncing up onto the hood, and then down to the ground, my son lay motionless in the middle of the road. 

In hysterics, the woman driving the vehicle called 911 and then called the church she and her children were on their way to, asking them to pray for my son. He hadn’t secured his helmet and even though the vehicle was going only twenty-six miles per hour when they collided, the impact was enough to induce instant coma. He was taken by helicopter to Children’s Hospital but the head trauma was too great and my little boy was pronounced brain-dead the following day.

The woman driving the car and her church prayed diligently for me as I began the unthinkable task of learning to live life without my son. In fact, many people told me that they were praying for me, but being an atheist, I really didn’t understand what prayer could do. 

A year later, Jesus reached into my brokenness and my grief. Through the reading of his Word, he opened my mind and my heart to his love and grace and I received him as my Lord and Savior. A few months later, the Spirit led me to attend a local church and then to become a member of that church. The day I became a member, a woman approached me and introduced herself as Jane (not her real name) and told me that she was the one driving the SUV that tragic day. As I stood there shaking her hand and hearing her words, I was filled with an overwhelming love and compassion for her. I smiled and couldn’t help but hug her. God had led me to the very church that had prayed for me - the very church where Jane and her children were traveling to on that fateful day.

I’ve shared this exact story before in April 2011 as I explained how my life is a story of miracles. This is a week when we look at the greatest miracle of all – God’s redeeming grace in Jesus on the cross and his gift of everlasting life with our Risen Lord outside the empty tomb. Love never looked so repulsive as this horrendously archaic, torturous death and yet so powerfully resplendent before. And hope never looked so hollow as the empty tomb and yet so immense it could not be contained!

The anniversary of my son’s death was just a few weeks ago. It was a time to reflect and remember the love I had and have for my son and the pain of his absence in my life and yet, I can never fully despair because that day lies in the shadow of Easter morning! Jesus’ resurrection is his victory over death and also his commitment to mine and my son’s resurrection when the time comes. As we go through this Holy Week, I will be remembering that what God did 2000+ years ago isn’t just history, it is our future together with the God who loves us that much! May God bless you in your journey through this Holy Week 2014.

1 comment:

Common Household Mom said...

Thank you for telling your story and how God's story is in it.

"And hope never looked so hollow as the empty tomb and yet so immense it could not be contained!"
- the glorious inexplicable paradox of Easter.